The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has revealed that the Federal Government will borrow money to ensure the completion of rail projects in the country.
Sambo disclosed this yesterday while delivering the ministry’s scorecard in Abuja.
He noted that “We don’t have the money. We are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give us,” he said.
Reacting to a question on why the South-East was restricted to narrow gauge rail lines, the minister said the zone was yet to be marginalised on the rail projects being executed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led administration.
“There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the South-East and if anything, that is the one part of the country that has benefited the most from PMB infrastructure projects.
“The narrow gauge you probably are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port Harcourt.
“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos, and several other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the South-East.”
He also said there is the narrow gauge contract “that was being considered by my predecessor in office,” which had two options — “either to rehabilitate the narrow gauge at a cost of about $3 billion or to do a standard gauge at a cost of about $12 billion.”
Speaking further, he said that the pros and cons of the corridor, the narrow gauge would convey more cargos, adding that the only difference between the narrow gauge and the standard gauge was the speed.
However, while Justifying that the South-East zone benefited the most, the minister added, “the Buhari-led administration constructed the second Niger Bridge that had defied all previous governments.”